How The Decisions Of A Home Owners Association May Affect You

If you are considering the purchase of a home in a neighborhood that is governed by a home owners association, you may not know what to expect. A home owners association is generally a group of volunteers who are comprised of residents within the neighborhood. They make decisions that determine what is acceptable concerning community property and common areas in the subdivision.

Here are a few things that the decisions of a home owners association may affect concerning your home:

The Color

If you like loud, vibrant colors, you may be relegated to displaying them inside your home. A home owners association may limit the color palette of the home exteriors within your neighborhood. This can ensure that the homes look uniform and the neighborhood maintains a tasteful, cohesive appearance. If this seems restrictive, keep in mind that the entire neighborhood is governed by the rules of color. Thus, a neighbor whose favorite color is chartreuse will not be able to display it on his or her house.

Fence Types

Some home owners associations determine the type and size of fences that can be selected. In some instances, a wooden privacy fence may be approved for installation, but a chain link fence may be disallowed. Also, the color or stain of the fence may have to meet the association's standards. The minimum and maximum fence height may be also be determined by the association.

If you do plan to install a fence on your property, check the rules of the association before moving forward with purchasing supplies.


Often, home owners association fees are collected monthly from neighborhood homeowners. The fees help cover the cost of maintaining common areas, such as the island at the entrance of a subdivision, as well as other shared costs, such as the salaries of guards at an entrance gate. In some neighborhoods, homeowners don't have to maintain their own yards. Instead, the lawns and hedges are manicured by landscapers hired by the association.

Behavior Around Your Neighborhood

The association may also establish rules that govern resident behavior. There may be a curfew for walking in your subdivision, or alcohol may be restricted from the neighborhood pool. You may also be restricted from parking on the street.

To learn more about the rules of a particular home owners association, call the association. A representative should be able to answer any questions about the specific rules of the neighborhood in which you are interested.